Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts: 5 Things to Watch for

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Who wins the next stage to backup Matt Forte?

Prior to all the injuries at wide receiver, the reserve halfback position was the center of the positional drama for the Bears offense, where three talented backs – Jacquizz Rodgers, Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey – were vying for the largest piece of the pie.

I thought Carey looked strong in the Miami game, with Rodgers running a close second and Langford, the rookie, a distant third. Carey ripped off a 21-yard run and showed some nifty feet in cutting outside on a fourth-and-goal for a touchdown against Miami. Rodgers, meanwhile, showed some strong power running, making a case for him to be the goalline back in addition to his potential as a third-down back. Both Carey and Rodgers cleared 30 yards on the day with yards-per-carry averages nearing five. Good work from both guys.

Langford, making his first NFL appearance, looked underwhelming, though not all of it was his fault. He looked a bit tentative, but having a defensive tackle shove the center back into you, as happened to Hroniss Grasu, will do that to a runner. On the plus side, Langford, who only ran for one yard on four carries, did catch two passes for 16 yards.

Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jeremy Langford (36) with the ball during the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The dark horse candidate for playing time is Senorise Perry, who broke off a 54-yard touchdown as part of an 89-yard, 10-carry day against Miami, with most of his working coming against scrubs.

I think Langford and Carey will get longer looks against the Colts. Rodgers is a likely lock due to his power running and high caliber pass protection skills; aside from learning the offense, I’m not sure how much the four-year veteran needs to show in the preseason. And Perry, despite his good game, may go back to contributing mainly on special teams, where he starred last year for the Bears, as the coaching staff determines the pecking order between Carey and Langford.

I think Langford, in particular, needs a longer look. Carey had minimal playing time last year, totaling fewer than 40 carries, but that, combined with preseason, gives the coaching staff something to evaluate. Langford, meanwhile, is still very much an unknown. The coaching staff needs to give him more carries, to see if that tentativeness goes away or if it’s something that warrants concern.

Forte will be making his first start of the preseason, so Carey and Langford may not get too much of a look with the starters. Whether they play with the starters or not, though, Carey needs to show that his strong outing against Miami wasn’t a fluke, while Langford needs to go back to the strong running style he flashed the last two years at Michigan State.

Next: Kyle Fuller (23) Days Until Season Opener

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